Maine Dairy Lawsuit Demonstrates the Importance of Little Details Like Grammar (Watch)

Think the little details like grammar don’t matter when it comes to the big picture of running a business? Think again.

A dairy business in Maine just learned this lesson the hard way. A group of the company’s drivers recently sued the business for overtime pay. And they won a huge settlement due to a missing Oxford comma.

According to Maine law, workers who are involved in “the canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution” of some food products are ineligible for overtime pay. But the drivers were able to successfully argue that the law only exempts those who pack for shipment or those who pack for distribution — not those who pack for both.

There are some style guides that say not to use the Oxford comma. But in this case, it probably could have helped to clarify. And that one tiny detail led to Oakhurst Dairy having to pay millions of extra dollars it didn’t originally budget for.

It’s Important to Pay Attention to Detail in Business

The lesson for others here is to pay attention to detail in business, no matter how small. Even if you think something is so small that it can’t really affect your business, there may come a day when a specific situation brings those details to light.

Milk Cows Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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